How Much Should Parents Pay for Tutoring?

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Whether your child is struggling in a particular subject or you want to address learning gaps from COVID-19 or another life event that's caused them to miss school, hiring a tutor can be hugely beneficial. Tutoring provides valuable one-on-one time for your child, and regular sessions also give your child an opportunity to work through homework assignments, stay organized, learn how to plan ahead, and prep for tests.

Overall, there are three primary types of tutoring available:

  • Online tutoring
  • Private tutors
  • Corporate tutoring centers

When considering hiring a tutor for your child, it can feel overwhelming trying to evaluate your options and budget for the fees. If these challenges resonate with you, here are some tips to help you plan and budget for your child's tutoring expenses.

Determine Your Budget

Before you can develop a budget for tutoring services, you need to take a look at your monthly income and expenses. Ask yourself how much money can be set aside for tutoring services. If money is tight, you may need to find areas where you can cut to make room for tutoring costs.

This might mean cutting back on the number of times you eat out or eliminating any extras you spend money on. If making cuts aren't an option for you, look into other options for tutoring like free services provided by schools, churches, and other community organizations.

Sometimes parents may qualify for free tutoring under the No Child Left Behind Act, which provides free tutoring for low-income families that attend a Title 1 school. There are even online learning options like Khan Academy, which provide free videos that help students with different concepts.

Overall, there are a number of tutoring options available. With a little legwork, you are sure to find an option that fits your budget and your student's needs.

Depending on the type of tutoring you select, the costs of a tutor per hour can range from about $15 per hour to as much as $100 an hour or more. Rates are usually based on the tutor's experience, the type of tutoring you want, and the amount of time spent with your student.

Consider Your Options

Along with professional tutors, corporate tutoring services, and online tutoring, some parents are turning to college students who are majoring in education for the tutoring assistance they need. For example, Abbie St. Clair, a sophomore early childhood education major at Ohio University, worked with a number of families to provide a combination of childcare and educational assistance during the 2020-2021 school year.

Because many of the school districts in her area were providing a hybrid model to education—meaning they are only in a school building twice a week—St. Clair offered drop-in services for a core group of families.

For $13 to $15 per hour, she stopped in to check on kids, make lunch, help them with homework, keep them on task, and tutor them in areas where they were struggling. St. Clair says students sometimes are more productive with a tutor because they can quickly become frustrated working with a parent.

"[Sometimes] a child is more willing to do work or read with someone they are not familiar with rather than their parents," she says. "Plus, parents do not always have time to help their children with schoolwork, especially if they are working. What I do allows their children to not only get help with schoolwork but allows parents to feel relieved that their children are being checked on, that they ate lunch, and that they are ready for the day."

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been growing interest in online tutoring and virtual learning environments. These services tend to be more affordable and allow students to get the help they need from the privacy and safety of their own homes.

Be Realistic

Remember that when you are budgeting for a tutor, you are hiring a professional that may rely on this income. So it's important to be realistic about the kind of help that you can get for your child.

If you have $150 a month to spend on tutoring and you think that your child needs about 2 to 3 hours of help per week or 12 hours per month, that means that you have an average of $12.50 per hour to spend on tutoring.

Most private tutors or corporate tutoring centers charge much more than that. Consequently, getting a private tutor may not be an option unless you utilize a private tutor once a month and supplement the rest of the time with online tutoring, free tutoring options, homework help options, and tutoring from your child's teacher.

For instance, Jennifer Kirk, a math and algebra teacher with a gifted certification who has taught in Texas and in central Ohio, charges $35 an hour for her services, and she is on the low end.

Most licensed teachers charge $45 to $60 an hour for tutoring. Kirk says she's been advised by her peers to charge more for her services because of her credentials, but her desire to help students and families motivates her to keep her fees low.

If hiring a teacher or a professional tutor is not an option for your family, some online tutoring services are more affordable. For instance, at Chegg Tutors you can get a chat session with a professional tutor for $7.

Chegg also offers a monthly plan that costs $15 per month for unlimited chat sessions. And if your child needs to visually interact with someone while chatting, $30 per month will get you 60 minutes of video sessions.

Kirk says that there are even some YouTube subscriptions that offer tutoring videos. But the risk you run with that, she says, is that you cannot be sure that these online videos will provide your student the help that they need. Regardless of your situation, Kirk advises that you not procrastinate on getting your child help.

"I would not wait on getting tutoring help for your child," she says. "If there is a foundational concept that will help them be more successful, you need to be sure they are mastering that now. Missing one crucial concept could cause the student to be lost for the rest of the year."

Ask for Assistance

As you begin to research your tutoring options, be sure you talk to your child's teacher. Many times, teachers can not only provide you with suggestions for tutoring services but also information about free options for support.

For instance, some teachers offer help through study groups or office hours where students who are struggling can get help. Teachers also can provide suggestions on where to get additional help at no cost.

"Ideally, every teacher is indicating how to contact them," says Kirk. "Our school is using a hybrid model for education, so we have office hours on Wednesdays with a link where kids can click in and ask questions or get assistance."

Kirk says libraries or churches are also good resources for kids who need help with their courses and recommends looking into that in your area to see if it's available. "In our community, the library had a homework help center available to students. It is a good place for kids to go and work with an adult on their homework," she says.

She says her school also offers the WISE program, which stands for Winning Interventions for Student Excellence, that offers direct intervention and tutoring from an academic coach on a regular basis.

A Word From Verywell

When planning and budgeting for your child's tutoring, it's important to consider not only your child's needs but also your budgetary restrictions. Try not to get discouraged if money is tight. With a little creativity, you can find the perfect tutoring solution for your kids that doesn't break the bank in the process.

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